A Creative Life

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Recently I read the following quote by George Bernard Shaw”

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

My response to reading that quote is wow. How many people in my world these days recognize and acknowledge they are being used for a mighty purpose or that they are being a force of nature?  They’re out, no doubt about it.  I’m in communication with many of them through Facebook and through comments on my blog, my friends, my family.

However as I look at the tragic state of the world, this Country even, I observe a great many more who, instead of recognizing their purpose or instead of being a force of nature, truly find themselves as “a feverish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself” to making them happy. That is their identity. Their physical ailments, their aches and pains, their emotional outbursts, their mental fatigue.  

Nothing human is going to fix them — or fix anything in the world.  Only Spirit and a true change in consciousness, a change in identity, will lift them out of their feverish clod of ailments state of dying (as opposed to a state of being). 

My remedy?  Dance, Move, Express Spirit, Create Change.  Be the Source, Not the Seeker.  It’s all here.  Now.  

Be responsible for your world.  I watched a 3 hour movie, “Cloud Atlas” last night.  Hard to follow the 6 lives through the past, present and future, but the basic premise was that our thoughts, our words and our actions create our world and how we live our lives has a far greater impact on the world — this world and future worlds — than we can ever imagine.

BE.  LIVE.  LOVE.  SPEAK WITH INTEGRITY.  DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY.  DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING.  DO YOUR BEST.

If you do those things, any physical ailment, heart break, mental anguish is annihilated in the presence of your greatness.  Do it.

I practice Nia and I have a Nia practice…I am a Nia Practitioner.  I invite you to DANCE, MOVE, EXPRESS SPIRIT, CREATE CHANGE. 

 

 

Dance, Move, Express, Spirit, Create, Change

Someone asked me a few months ago if there were 6 words I would use for my memoir (ala “The Six Word Memoir Project”). At the time I struggled with coming up with 6 words to leave as a memoir.

However, a shift occurred recently (coinciding with the New Year) allowing for six words to emerge as my mantra for 2014…actually it’s a mantra for my life. Those six words are:  DANCE, MOVE, EXPRESS, SPIRIT, CREATE, CHANGE. As a memoir it would look more like: “Dance, Move, Express Spirit, Create Change”. These six words represent the truth of who I am…and they speak volumes about how I live my life. They have become my way of life…my path…my journey. I shared (and continue to share) these words with my students in my Nia classes since the beginning of the year. They could feel my passion…

I have a Nia practice…which makes me a Nia practitioner. Practitioners offer to and share their experiences with others…experiences of healing, growth, relaxation, consciousness and so much more. I offer and share with my students my experiences of dancing, moving, expressing spirit and creating change. My birthday was last weekend. At a lovely birthday dinner, I was honored to receive so many wonderful gifts from my friends (many of whom are also my students).  One gift, a framed painting with the words “DANCE, MOVE, EXPRESS, SPIRIT, CREATE, CHANGE in gold lettering nestled amidst splashes of turquoise and purple (my favorite colors); and another, a beautiful card with DANCE, MOVE, EXPRESS, SPIRIT, CREATE, CHANGE in hand calligraphy. Both of these gifts are now hanging in my studio.

This is the life of a practitioner. I am so enjoying this journey. 

Sixty-three

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January 11th was my 63rd birthday.  I’m not sure what “63” is supposed to feel like other than what it does. 

My husband and I had a birthday dinner party at a local Italian restaurant.  Several friends joined us.  We laughed and ate and drank wine (and some drank Old Fashions).  We moved our dinner party to the bar of a close-by hotel (where one of my friends was staying). There was a guitarist who had a really rich playlist from which to choose.  A couple of us girlfriends got up and danced and didn’t care that no one else did, and the guitarist appreciated the gesture. 

Other than having a few more aches and pains, I feel more awesome now than I did at 33.  It has to do with consciousness.

DANCE MOVE EXPRESS SPIRIT CREATE CHANGE

DANCE!

MOVE!

EXPRESS SPIRIT!

CREATE CHANGE!

My sacred journey involves dancing through life and that involves teaching Nia.  Those 6 words above are my definition of what Nia means to me.  If you’d like to know more about Nia beyond those 6 words, check out http://www.nianow.com.  Find a class near you. Dance, Move, Express, Spirit, Create, Change.  If you’re looking for a fitness class that is beyond dance, beyond fitness, beyond simply exercising the body, then Nia is for you.  Go.  Dance.  Move.  Express Spirit.  Create Change.  

 

 

My Passion

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My passion is in expressing spirit.  I am spirit in action.  I teach Nia — a fusion fitness that is above and beyond any designed cardio dance workout.  Nia combines 9 movement forms, is done barefoot, a cardio dance exercise with 13 basic principles that can be used in and out of the studio/dance floor.  Nia invites change.

In 2014, my role as a Nia teacher is to invite my students to step into their greatness.  Weight loss, muscle toning, flexbility, mobility, agility, strength, stability — these are all things that are benefits from a consistent practice of Nia.  Far greater than any of these, in my personal opinion though, is the opportunity for a continued acknowledgement and expression of the greatness of one’s Spirit.  The mind and the emotions begin to be steered through Spirit.  The body responds to the expression of Spirit.  In all cultures throughout the history of mankind, dance has been a way to express, to commune, to create change.

Nia:  Dance Move Express Spirit Create Change.  Nia:  Dance, Move, Express Spirit, Create Change.

Compelling.

 

 

Entering the Gateway to 2014

abundance

 

If you follow my blog, you know that I teach Nia — it is my sacred livelihood. My Nia classes are full of creative expression, an invitation to live and dance the truth of who you are — spirit in action, clothed in an extraordinary physical manifestation.

I love ceremony, I love creating a space where others are invited to step into their greatness, their divinity. Everything in this world needs to be lifted up.  The Universe awaits the opportunity to manifest that which we wish to dream into reality…and it will…it does…now and always — the Universe responds to our call. Every thought, every word, every action creates our world. What is it that YOU wish to dream into reality? Be cautious and CONSCIOUS of your wishes. They do manifest. There is no one to thank or to blame but yourself for what is revealed.  Wouldn’t you rather be grateful for what comes forth rather than accusing, blaming or criticizing? Afterall, it’s your creation.

On the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21, 2013, a gathering of 13 (one of my favorite numbers) celebrated with a ritual of gratitude and forgiveness for our journey through 2013.  Although Midnight on December 31st in the Gregorian Calendar is normally celebrated as the ringing in of the New Year, in some cultures the Winter Solstice brings forth the new journey.  I recognize both as holy and sacred.

We began our time together in an empowering circle…the room was dimly lit.  There were blank pieces of paper and a crayon, a stone and an “Angel” card for everyone.  The invitation was to enter the space intuitively, sitting where one was drawn to do so.  The first offering to the Universe was to jot down three things we were grateful for in 2013, there was no time to think about it, let spirit guide. The second offering was to jot down one thing in 013 for which we wanted to receive forgiveness. Gratitude and Forgiveness are BIG MEDICINE. Each stone had a word carved on it. The specific word represented our something for which we were grateful and the word on the Angel Card contained our individual “energy” for the dance we would be participating in shortly.

And we danced…beautiful dancing bodies (12 women and 1 man).  The playlist contained the “mantra of joy”, a beautiful song about dreaming, a melodic song of winter, a song of “together as one” and then we gathered back in our circle to dream in 2014.  No time to think about it…let the crayon hit the paper and stream of consciousness take over. Fill the paper if necessary, or just write a few things.

Our time ended with hands in prayer position at the heart and the words, “Let Love Radiate” (words that I use to bring all of my Nia classes to a close).

The Universe is waiting to respond…that’s what it does…respond.

I sense a unique shift occurring…it is time to put the cards on the table. What’s in your hand? What are you dreaming into 2014?

Sacral Chakra

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The Sacral Chakra is the 2nd of 7 major chakras.  Chakras are energy centers, each having a unique language, color, tone, and essence.  An imbalance of any chakra can result in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual concerns.  Balancing the chakras through movement is the best way I’ve found to increase the beautiful vibration found in each of these energy centers.

Although the Sacral Chakra is known for it’s sexual energy, it is important to note that creative energy emanates from this chakra as well.  An imbalance in the sacral chakra can result in a creative block, sexual deviancy, abuse or frigidness.  

Have I mentioned recently that I teach the best cardio dance fitness fusion/lifestyle practice on the face of the planet? Check it out here:  http://www.nianow.com).  Nia has 52 Moves, 7 of which are related to the Pelvis, Chest and Head (in Nia we call these “the Core”).  The pelvis — home of the Sacral Chakra — has 2 moves:  Pelvic Circles and Hip Bumps.

I have found in my 12 years of teaching Nia, that most (not all) women have a disconnect with their pelvis and/or hips. Creative and sexual energy in the Sacral Chakra goes far beyond the desire and outworking involved in bringing forth a human life.  The exhilaration felt in moving the pelvis and hips the Nia way provides a doorway to loving our bodies and loving our lives.  Flexibility, mobility and stability are experienced in the pelvis and hips in a safe way when we do Pelvic Circles and Hip Bumps and we are once again connected to the source of creative energy.  Creative energy can be in the form of singing, dancing, painting, sculpting, writing, playing…creative energy is…well…creative energy!!  

I have no children…mine and my husband’s conscious choice…yet he and I have created and brought forth such beauty in our 2 and 1/2 acres of gardens and strolling paths, a vineyard, a pond and many sitting areas enjoyed by our friends, customers and neighbors.  We find ways of creating the environment or atmosphere for others to step into their creative greatness.  And we do it with a passion that emanates from the creative energy of the sacral chakra.  

Take a moment to rub your palms together briskly, creating some heat.  Next, lay the palms of your hands on your abdominal area (you can do this standing, sitting or lying down).  The abdominal area is just below your navel.  Allow the heat (which YOU created) in your palms to soak into your sacral chakra.  Offer gratitude for sensing the balance in the creative and sexual energy in your Sacral Chakra.

Want to learn more about Pelvic Circles and Hip Bumps?  Come to one of my classes!  I teach 4 classes a week at my studio. You can also find a studio near you by using the website URL above and clicking on “Find Nia” and then “Classes”.  

Dance like nobody’s watching…dance like everybody’s watching!!!  Just DANCE!!

 

The Natural Me

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I was reading a friend’s Facebook post.  She had decided to let her natural hair color grow out (she’s a bottle redhead, like me).  The picture above is what I imagine my natural hair color to be — it’s a chestnut brown with two silver streaks (some might call the color “gray”, I prefer silver, thank you very much) at both of my temples.  I’ve been coloring my hair red pretty much all of my life.  When I was in my early 20’s I was a blonde, a redhead, a brunette and once it was a beautiful magenta — almost dark purple.  But why do I color it now?  Because redheads have more fun?  Because all the ads on TV were about “covering the gray?”  Because I wanted to look younger? Dunno.  Maybe all of the above.  Maybe none of the above.  It is what it is.  And now it’s time to make a change.

I’m REEEEEALLLLY excited about this.  I’ve already contacted my hairdresser (who is a magician and a hair guru) who is in this for the long run with me.  I’m blessed to have creative thinking and doing folks in my life.

When I told my husband that I was going to be letting my hair grow back to its natural color, he said “what is it, I don’t remember!”ImageHA!  So I showed him one of our wedding reception pictures (12 years ago), which was the last time I had my hair in it’s natural state — and long.  We are both 50 years old in this picture.  It had rained during our outside wedding, so my hair is looking a teensy bit bedraggled, but basically it was chestnut brown with silver streaks at the temples.  

This is the year of expansion for me.  A year of letting go (not the same as giving up) and a year of bringing unprecedented changes to bear in my life.  I’m stepping up, stepping out, and stepping more into my greatness.  And it’s feeling good.

This may not seem like a big step to many folks (the “uncoloring” of my hair), but let me tell ya…it’s a major change for me.  I’m embracing it.  At the biological age of 62, my inner goddess is sighing a deep breath of release.  

The saucy redhead is about to become a silver fox.  And that just gives me tremendous shivers of delight.

Come and dance with me…let your own evolution of who you are emerge through the Joy of Movement.  My Nia classes are:  9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Mondays, 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

 

 

SynchroNiacty

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I find that the more I stay in tune with my body, rather than listening to the stories of my mind, the Universe somehow brings together all the ingredients for a fabulous Nia class.

As a Nia teacher, I’m constantly looking for/researching what I can use as a focus for the class.  Yes, Nia classes start with setting a focus and an intent.  So I went searching this morning for a focus for my class at 9:00 a.m. The music I’m using is classic rock with some country and the choreography is classic Nia choreography using many of the Upper Extremities 52 Moves (yes, Nia has 52 Moves that are blended seamlessly into every routine).

I logged on to the Nia website (yes, Nia has a website: http://www.nianow.com), clicked on Downloads, closed my eyes and pointed.  When I opened my eyes, my finger was pointing to Awareness of the Elbow.  Voila’, my focus for this morning’s class.  Try moving your elbow without moving your forearm or your shoulder.  Impossible.  The Upper Extremities include the Arms, Hands and Fingers, but much more is going on muscularly and with the bones, connective tissue, etc. when one moves the arms, hands and fingers.

I’m continually impressed, amazed, thankful, blessed to be a Licensed Black Belt Nia Practitioner.  Get In Your Body — let’s dance!!!

 

The Mythtery of a Comfort Zone

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I’ve always been big on having my comfort zone clearly defined (I’m a Capricorn).  It isn’t a destination I can find using my GPS…unless GPS stands for Gastro-intestinal Panic Syndrome.  That’s usually when I know I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.  My gut tells me immediately.  Nervousness…butterflies in my stomach.

But the love for my comfort zone has changed…was it yesterday? …or was it a week ago — perhaps even months ago, years ago…somewhere along the line I became aware that my comfort zone really wasn’t all that comforting.  It was more like the feeling after a nice toke.  Those of you who know about tokes (one toke over the line, sweet Jesus), know what I mean.  That feeling of ahhhhh.  I have nothing to do and nowhere to go.  In fact it’s not that I have nothing to do, but I that I don’t WANT to do anything.  I don’t want to go anywhere, except maybe a trip to the kitchen to see what I can dream up to squelch the munchies (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on…well…anything.)  But I digress…(nice memories though).

The alleged comfort zone is not a mystery, it’s a mythtery.  It doesn’t exist except in our heads and we concoct it as bait to catch our own sense of self-denial or self-loathing or insecurities and let them snuggle in all nice and warm.  (Another toke would be good here.)  Comfort zones are the adult version of a binky.

I turned 62 this past January.  I went to the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert at Summerfest last night — stepping out of my comfort zone.  I don’t like going to Summerfest at night…you know…the hoodlums, and the thieves, and the people who only come out at night will be there.  Ha. Did I see any?  Nope.  What I saw were about a million 50 to 70 year old men and women (some taking that toke occasionally) who seemed to have found their comfort zone.  So I decided to settle in, too.

Then I had to go to the bathroom.  The concert was supposed to start in 30 minutes.  It took a lifetime to get to the bathrooms (evidently the kiosks had run out of beer, so the 50- and 70-somethings were left to stand mortified in the middle of the walkway causing a major damn, I mean dam-up.  Holy cow…really…I got the sensing of what cows must feel like who are being herded into a small contained area.  It was ridiculous.  Comfort zone?  I think not.  Smelly, sweaty people (me being one of them) being pushed in one direction with a whole ‘nother grouping swarming and pushing the other way.  Not a pleasant sensation when one has claustrophobia.  

I finally made it to the bathroom…only to have to stand in a line with 14,000 other women who had swam their way through the morass of sweaty humanity…oh and did I mention that it had rained…no, poured…just moments before, so the air was heavy with (pot smoke) moisture — and the grounds and bathrooms were filled with puddles of (hopefully) water.   I’m standing behind a woman who had Farrah Faucett hair — really gorgeous.  She turned around and I was caught off guard.  Her face was brown and leathery, although she was attractive in a chain-smoker kind of way.  She made a comment, using her best gravely voice, about her 70’s hair-do going to hell and what was she doing here at her age.  I laughed and said, “yeah, I know, I’m 62”.  She gasped out that she was 45 and said “you must not be a smoker.”  It actually took everything I had not to gasp back at the fact that she was only 45.  She looked 20 years older than 45 — which would put her pretty close to my age, so I probably have to add that I don’t look 62 (at least I don’t think I do…part of my comfort zone).

Everyone made it back to their seats, the concert started, I danced and head-banged to the music and felt that youthful satisfaction of rockin’ out (deep breathing in the wafting pot smoke from the 50- to 70-somethings).  

Back to my comfort zone…or actually the lack of it.  Someone moved it.  They didn’t ask if they could, they just moved it.  And to date I haven’t found it since my GPS (not the one used in a car) seems to be on stand-by, lurking about, making itself known.

I like it though…I read on one of my Facebook friend’s posts that the butterflies, the nerves and nervousness lets her know that there is magic awaiting…

As much as I used to enjoy my comfort zone, I’m much more fascinated with the possibility of magic happening.  So whoever took my comfort zone, have fun.  You can have it.  Magic it is for me.

Abracadabra!!!  Did I mention that I teach Nia?  (www.nianow.com)  

 

 

 

Transformational Movement

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Nia is transformational movement.  Was it my subconscious that led me to Nia?  Perhaps it was through the wisdom of the Universe that I found Nia.   I originally thought I was drawn to Nia because it is done barefoot … or maybe it was the music … or perhaps the invitation to express creatively while moving.  Whatever the case, I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity to teach Nia…to share the wonderous benefits (which go waaaaay beyond the physical realm) and to become part of a world-wide community of people who share the love of dance…who actually embody conscious transformation.

Marilyn Gordon, Director of Life Transformation Associates, says, “The divine art of conscious transformation can happen in the flash of a moment and can change the entire outlook of our lives. Even though we set ourselves free at one moment, doesn’t necessarily mean that we set ourselves free the next. We have to keep working on it, keep at it, keep on remembering the transformational work we came here for and keep on bringing the light to every aspect of ourselves.

It is for this reason that I found Nia.  To be a shaman, a healer, a catalyst for others to find their way in this crazy world; to invite others to “remember the transformational work we came here for” — and what better way to bring that invitation than through the expressive, creative art of dance and movement.

A Nia class is not just a cardiovascular fitness practice — although it is definitely that!!  Nia is a lifestyle practice as well.  One begins to feel good about themselves and begins to notice the little things in our lives that keep us from stepping fully into our greatness.  We have within us an inherent “greatness” gene.  It’s always there…sometimes it gets hidden or tossed to the back recesses of our beingness; nevertheless, it is there.  

In a Nia class — at least in MY Nia classes — there is an hour filled with love and laughter and moving the body in ways that perhaps it has never moved in before and in moving the body, the mind and heart awaken to a different voice…a unique and expressly personal voice that beckons the invitation to rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.  So many people in the world have a less than divine sensing of who they are, yet the divine self waits for the layers of self-denial, self-doubt and low self-esteen to fall away, revealing the beauty and grandeur of Being.  

This is my purpose…my sacred livelihood.  To engender change, to be a transformative force in my world…and thus in THE world.  Nia is my platform, my mode of transportation…transformation is an ever-moving destination — one that brings me much joy as I dance through life.  My Life As Art.  Won’t you join me in the fantastic journey?  The first stop along the way is “Love Your Body.”